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Ottumwa Stories: Spend Your Long Labor Day Weekend With Us!

Published September 1, 2021

As you make your plans for the long Labor Day Weekend, check out everything you can see, do, eat and enjoy in Ottumwa. It may take you more than a weekend to experience it all!

American Gothic House Center – Head to Eldon and have your own parody made in front of the iconic house in Grant Wood’s famous painting.

Antique Airfield Association’s Air Power Museum – Travel back in time as you tour this 20,000-square-foot museum, featuring various periods of aviation via models, engines, propellers, photos and original art. Approximately 20 aircrafts are on display, including World War II models.

Downtown Shopping – Walk up and down Main Street and the surrounding area to discover locally owned stores, coffee shops and tons of street art.

Bark Park – If you’ve got your furry friends with you, you’ll love spending time at the Bark Park. Located in the Central Addition area of Greater Ottumwa Park, this fenced area is a great place for dogs – and their humans – to run and play.

Cedar Creek Golf Course – Play a round of golf at Cedar Creek, an 18-hole, 71-par golf course on Ottumwa’s north side. Golf on your own or call to sign up for the Labor Day 4 Person Best Shot tournament.

Disc Golf Course Tour – There are seven disc golf courses in Wapello County, and you’ll have time to play all of them over these three days. In Ottumwa, you’ll find courses at Indian Hills Community College, Memorial Park, Franklin Park and Wildwood Park. Courses across Wapello County can also be found at Sandy Dunes in Eddyville, Chippewa Creek in Eldon and just south of Ottumwa at Pioneer Ridge Nature Area.

Street Art Tour – When you walk along Main Street and in Canteen Alley, you’ll be surrounded by artwork from local, state and national artists. Look for murals, metal sculpture, a children’s play area and many other one-of-a-kind art installations.

Wapello County Freedom Trail – Honor those who have served their country by following the Wapello County Freedom Trail. The route includes The Wapello County Freedom Trail includes the Wapello County Freedom Rock in front of the Bridge View Center on Church Street, the All Veterans Memorial in Greater Ottumwa Park, the Iowa Heartland History Connection (temporarily closed for renovations), the Wapello County Soldiers Monument in Central Park and the Civil War Soldier Wood Carving in Ottumwa Cemetery.

GamerTag/Arcade/TeeRex/Ashby’s Bakery – Do you have teenagers with you? Spend the day at Quincy Place Mall doing some of their favorite things. Go for the high score at GamerTag and Old School Pinball & Arcade. Challenge them to a round or two of mini golf at TeeRex. And finish the day with sweet treats at Ashby’s Bakery & Ice Cream Shop.

Lower Des Moines River Water Trail - Beginning here in Wapello County and winding all the way down to Farmington in Van Buren County, the Des Moines River Water Trail flows through picturesque southeast Iowa. The trail begins in Eldon at the cement boat ramp on Water Street. The 4.5-mile section from Eldon to Selma is considered a beginner-level paddle, making it a fun way to get a new perspective of Iowa outdoors.

Memorial Park Mountain Bike Trail - Winding through the woods of Memorial Park, you’ll find a 5-mile mountain biking trail. Built by volunteers using the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s standards, these unpaved trails are designed to be a challenging off-road experience. Its special features include a switchback, jumps and a steep ravine. Also open to hikers, the main trailhead is located at the timber’s edge under the Bulldog Water Tower off Elm Street.

Pioneer Ridge Nature Area – Spend the weekend exploring the Pioneer Ridge Nature Area, just a few miles south of Ottumwa on Highway 63. This two-story nature center has displays, a full-time naturalist and four stocked ponds open for public fishing. There are also 15 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, and a half-mile, paved, handicap-accessible trail. The Wapello County Conservation Board also venues for special events, and environmental programs are scheduled throughout the year. 

Wapello County Trails - Enjoy the scenic Des Moines River from the Wapello County Trail System, perfect for walking, running, biking, rollerblading and birdwatching. The 16-mile trail system includes a 5K John Deere Loop, a 1-mile loop between Market Street and the Wabash Bridge, two loops through Greater Ottumwa Park and a 1-mile section by Gray Eagle Wildlife Preserve.

Coffee Shops – What would a vacation be without great local coffee? Ottumwa’s locally owned coffee shops each have their own flavors, but they all support community people and organizations in addition to their amazing drinks and great food.

International Dining – Ottumwa’s cultural diversity is reflected in its restaurants. From award-winning Latin cuisine to family-owned icons to great American barbecue, your family can find it all right here.

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